Joining forces with Chris


Excellent point. I’ll get in touch with Ron ASAP about the Paypal link idea for donations. You’re right - the key is to make this simple, easy, and painless. Expect this functionality on the site soon!



Another website well worth looking at is

Perhaps a little more ‘technical’ than this one but I think he gives a very thorough analysis of the evolution of the modern monetary system, including the nature of money itself.

Some of his articles can be found on, also well worth reading.

Hi bolweevil,

Thanks for the comments. If I understood your question, you are wondering whether the motive here is to turn this thing into a big profit center for Chris, or if it’s just to make the charity effort sustainable.

It’s both. For Chris, it’s mostly about making this sustainable. He was funding the old site out of pocket, and the new server just plain costs too much for him to continue. But frankly, in my own opinion, Chris deserves the opportunity to profit from this fantastic work he’s done. Believe me, he’s not the greedy type, and the last thing on his mind is how to make this about him getting rich. That said, my advice will be for him to stop feeling guilty about the possibility that he and his family might be financially rewarded for his commitment to this cause for the last 4+ years.

If there is a strong preference to fund this with a non-advertising business model, I’m wide open to suggestions about how to do it. But I do know that if we stick with the "chris pays all expenses out of pocket" model, it won’t last.



Ya, I’m serious… I know it sounds corny but she really does have the reach to the average american and it seems like she really cares about real issues that affect real people. While I am not a regular watcher, I have read enough about her to know that she would help out this cause if enough people got her attention to it. I sent an email to her site about Chris 2 weeks ago and then I heard she had some sort of comment on the financial situation on a show she did a few days ago but this would be a great follow up to it. If everyone took just a few moments to goto Oprah’s site and goto the suggestion for shows section, I’m sure that would get their attention and we may soon have our little geeky looking Chris on national television (oops, did I say geeky? lol, just kiddin bro)

i really like the idea of building local communities ike. i have no problem with meeting with people who are into this site.

we will not only need the online experience but we will need face to face partners in the endeavors ahead. we can share knowledge and skills. we can help start urban, suburban and rural communities.

i have lots of experience with community building and dialog. a community resource directory would be a great place to get the latest info on new products designed for dealing with the coming storm, solar energy, permaculture, windmills etc and also services to help people with special needs such as health care. then an adwords or adsense campaign could be geared towards products and services designed specifically for addressing the problems brought up in the crash course.

chapter 20 might provide the answers to what those products and services could be.

then the advertisers on the site could be screened the way they are on npr. the ads could be done in a very tasteful way. with feed back on the site for peoples experience with the vendor.

in aspen there was a campaign to get the local stores to carry the most energy efficient products by putting out a directory to the local community of the stores that had the best options. in a very short time the whole town was carrying green products.

anyway we are only limited by the limits we place on ourselves.

i have no problem with this site being commercialized after all we are talking about capitalism why not develop models for a sustainable economy right here. i will buy a bunch of dvd’s and would like to see them packaged in the greenest way possible.

my motto since meeting bucky fuller in the70’s has been " do more with less"

i am glad you are here erik and get chris to take a break and get a bath.

om shanti


I’ve been following along here for a few months now, and introduced my dad to the site about a month ago. Following my lead, he’s been telling everyone within earshot about the Crash Course. One of those people is a professor at the Illinois Institute of Technology’s Stuart School of Business. His name is George Nassos, and a link to his profile at the college’s website is here: . I’m not sure if he’s watched the whole thing, but he definitely liked what he saw, and mentioned something to my dad about wanting to use it in the classroom to some respect. If you’re interested, I could definitely get you all in contact. Perhaps you could collaborate and develop some sort of Crash Course Curriculum? Anyway, shoot me an e-mail at if any of that sounds appealing.

good idea xflies i am on the way. what about lou dobbs, coast to coast etc.?

Firstly plaudits for Chris and yourself Erik for stepping up. I won’t go into great detail on the plusses of the site but I have continually been impressed since first being introduced a little time back.

What I would like to offer is some thoughts which will hopefully be of use and/or stimulate discussion/thoughts:

While I personally detest most forms of internet advertising I recognise the need and merits of income generation to support product delivery and improvement. Given the nature of this site I can only see one way in which the integrity of Chris’ mission/vision can be reconciled with the presence of advertising. That is to quarantine the advertisments. How - put them in a box off to one side with a border (in a colour or form not used elsewhere in the site) to visually separate it from the rest of the site. Create the appearance of a "window" through the site if you like. This would have a large discalimer above it - something to the effect that "the contribution of advertisers to the continuing presence of this site is acknowledged but this does not imply ANY endorsement of the products presented" - or some such message. It has to look unconnected and the adds need to change relatively quickly so that the impression of alignment is further diminished.

Unfortunately the first comment flies in the faced of this next one.

The above (rapid change adds) requires additional bandwidth/speed for delivery. This second comment relates to loading of the site - specifically the chapters. I live in a part of the world where 512k is considered lightning fast, 1.2GB per month traffic (up and down) more than you should ever need and the cost for this "pleasure" is about US$300 per month with a reliabilty factor that is probably less than 95%

Unfortunately it means that when a new chapter is available it takes me forever to download and sharing it is a signfiicant cost. I would happily pay to download a chapter or the course in a way that will enable me to replay it in the future. That way I could do it next time I am in a download heaven and share it (slide night / movie night style) when I get back.

The third comment is content related. As you idenified Erik you joined the "good fight" to continue publishing free educational information about the American economy on In a brief discussion with Chris earlier this year he mentioned that he had a distinct interest group from Australia and I have seen some posters identify themselves from European countries. I recognise the global impact of the American economy but it would be a real step up, one that I would be prepared to pay for, to have some analysis of other economies/systems and how the global impact might pan out.

E.g. we hear claims from some countries that they are more robust position in terms of their banking and financial systems than the USA and notwithstanding a global downturn they will be better prepared to weather the downturn - does this just mean a slightly softer impact at the bottom of a large fall - after falling 100 feet off a cliff it doesn’t matter much if you hit the ground at 30m/sec or 20m/sec you will still be mush - or does it mean a parachute and the capacity to more rapidly move to a differnt socio economic base/structure - some conjecture and speculation needed of course.

This is obviously a major body of work and requires a lot of resources but it’s my suggestion for the day :slight_smile:

And my fourth comment relats to the forum commentary, I recognise and understand what many have posted about the need to be clinical on the one hand to avoid the perception of being a free radical or aligned with some armageddon cult but I also recognise that the message will best be disseminated by discussion and that people need to be given a forum to voice their concerns and discuss alternatives. My observation on this is that I think you can have both. The capacity to post comments is linked to being registered. The viewing of comments should be similarly restricted to those who are registered. In this way the academic interst will have been delivered before people delve into the forums of discussion and what might at times (by the uninitiated) be percieved as extremism.

I hope these comments add value and have some others but for now I must go. Keep on keeping on.


The implications of Chris’ research applied to wealth preservation are crystal clear: Chris’ work supports the conclusion that investing in hard assets is wise. There is no reason not to own that this is true. During the Crash Course Chris freely mentions that he himself has made such investments. And this is, after all, a site whose purpose is to inform the actions of people.

If he felt it were necessary, I personally don’t see why Chris couldn’t write on the subject of gold purchasing. How to invest, what premiums to look for, which mint marks are considered the most reputable, etc. If it were really necessary to do so, I think Chris could provide a list of some reputable dealers (preferably without hyperlinks), as long as pain is taken, (1) to make clear that he has no financial association with the companies listed, and (2) he does not personally endorse the products or services of a particular dealer.

But if there is endorsement, advertisement, sales, sponsorship, or anything which suggests to the intelligent reader that a commercial relationship of any kind might exist between this site and precious metal dealers, credibility will put on a swimsuit and take a dive.

Hi Erik - I haven’t had time to read all the replies so I apologise if I am duplicating anyone else’s comments.

I am in the UK. When I started following Chris’s work I thought the USA was headed for disaster but we could keep going. I don’t think like that any more. I anticipate some quite bad news out of London in the next couple of weeks. I have searched for a British version of Chris’s site but there isn’t anythng quite like this, so I do want Chris to be able to keep going.

I can’t imagine this will be possible without a team of at least 3: Chris providing content, someone else maintaining and developing the actual site (the nuts and bolts of of design and running the server) and you providing overall guidance and shielding Chris from things he doesn’t have to deal with personally. There are lots of examples of content-driven websites that support a bigger overhead than that, and
they mostly run on the basis that the entry level is free and is supported by advertising; that a small payment gets you free of the adverts (which means quicker downloads) and gives you access to some extra content, and the full subscription gets you detailed advice.

In Chris’s case the entry level needs to have enough historic content that people can see this is worthwhile, and probably include most (not all) of the Crash Course. The small payment would get access to all the historic content, the whole Crash Course, and breaking news. The full subscription would buy you the "Here’s what you have to do now" stuff - advice on what actions to take.

I don’t see this sort of format being created by anyone other than a full time website designer.

The trouble is that there is "competition" - I won’t name them because I don’t want to damage Chris by giving people leads away from his site - but if you email me I will tell you who I think the main competitors are.

Meanwhile if you put a Paypal donate button on the site I promise I’ll send you a few English pounds - God knows what use they’ll be by the time you get them.

So there seems to be some opposition to Chris getting a kickback from recommending products.


Why not have Chris produce reports about various topics PM’s, investing, alternative energy etc etc.

They could also be podcasts or video reports ( my preference)

The site could just sell the report via paypal and /or these premium reports could be in a special premium members area which might be $10 - $50 per month to be a member.

This would be really easy to set up. It gives Chris fair compensation for all the effort he is putting in, while maintaining his integrity.

I mean in no way to criticize your website, as it has taught me the only important things I have ever learned, but I merely want to point out some oddities and observations.
-Your seminar predicts the imminent demise of the dollar and just about everything else, and yet you guys are all talking about fundraising and, dare I say the word, growth… isn’t all this s*#@ supposed to go down the pipes like… now?
-isn’t sustainable growth an oxymoron?

  • you say in one part of the crash course that if a money system dissapeared, it would be replaced by something else, like nautilus shells. But your speaking seminar is called The End of Money. Shouldn’t it be called The End of the Dollar, or Stock Up on Nautilus Shells! (gold ones).
    -no offense, but your website is visually displeasing to the eye. It has the appearance of a hot dog. (ketchup and mustard). In general, your color scheme needs work. Check out Obama’s website. They have good graphic design people.
    -maybe some of this will come with chapter 20, but maybe you could describe things that you have personally done (did you really move from Mystic, CT to rural Mass? hardcore…). Do you have a huge veggie garden? Do you defend your property (and gold) with a crossbow? Do you wake up every morning at 4am and split logs? Or do you just burn your eyes out of your skull reading about the bailout on websites all day? (ps I don’t think the bailout will work, but thats just me being a stupid America hating cynic)
    -I am totally down with the idea of making a community networking thing. People can post fotos of how their commune(ity) is preparing the battlements, I mean farmer’s markets.
    -I’m pretty sure we used to live in a fascist country, but now its just a weezing hunk of socialist mess. Whatever…
    -I’m moving to switzerland
    -I recently went to the local gold and silver shoppe and bought a gold panda at $887/oz or something and a couple of silver one ounce eagles. I’m just a kid, so thats the best I can do. Plus I’ve got 4 hundies in Hamiltons under my bed. Maybe I’ll bring them to the bakery (doesn’t exist yet) and by a croissant.

Peace and keep up the diligent work,
Ashton from CT

ps did you watch the Palin Biden debate? I don’t wanna make this political but I almost peed my pants!! Palin (paraphrased), "Alaska will save you all from those big mean oil companies!" LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL I am dying. Is the American populace really so dumb to believe her? I lost faith in them decades ago. Ah well time is of the essence!

I’ve been reflecting about this latest turn of on-board event for a few hours and will not rant and rave long, and just wish to express the main areas that leave me breathless:

"Not having to work full time isn’t as glamorous as it sounds."

Following an unprecedented week ushered in by many difficult months, along with a full-blown status of recession, this is a remarkable commentary of insensitive poor taste. And I am being too damn nice.

"One of the main reasons the completion of the Crash Course has been delayed…"

As the golden carrot, karat carrot dangles…

"But unexpectedly, after I mentioned my own donation in passing on a blog comment page, another kind reader…"

Kind reader? Kind, you say? My good eye caught your original posting and noticed how it upset the lining of my stomach. Now, I can only manage to feel deeply saddened by such blatant arrogance.

At this point in the Endgame, it makes no sense to go down while embracing the mighty buck.

Best wishes with your decisions, Chris.





I can’t believe you are really struggling with hosting costs. If you are smart about it you should be able to host this very very easily for > $100/month, on a dedicated server. Really, you should be around the $30/month mark.

I should know, I have made a lot of sites. Really you have no bandwidth you can’t shipout. If you have one person subscribing, that should cover your hosting !!

I could probably host this for $0/month- I can’t believe you get that many hits, its not like you have a porn site. If you want help to get hosting down to manageable costs, I would be happy to help.

PS - alot of hits for me is 1mill + about 100,000 - 200,000 real page requests/day

on the web site side of things - that sounds like a part time one man job to me. Server maintenance is somthing you do not do unless you really know what you are doing, Anyone can setup apache. Securing it is somthing else. server/firewall configs, leave to the pros, its included in most hosting plans.

Aside from watching and commentating on the markets and general fiscal position, the web side is part time one man job.

I believe the concern was that YOU intend to profit from Chris’ work. We have no doubt that Chris does this from the deeply held conviction he has about teaching and helping. I have doubts about YOUR motives.

Eric -

Whenever an ‘entrepreneur’ comes on the scene of an already developed product with praises and promises, talking about the need to make some money, people are naturally suspicious. I think an earlier commenter’s question was concerning YOUR motives. How do you intend to profit from this investment of time and money you have made. Obviously Chris is not motivated by profit, or else he wouldn’t be losing money trying to get the message out. Is your motivation similarly altruistic? I would be much more comfortable if you fully disclosed your monetary interest in these changes, and your percent of the take.


It’s taking his word for it, but Erik does state in his introduction that he is volunteering his time and has no financial interest in the website.

Quick thoughts after skimming through this thread.

Erik, you sound like a decent guy, well-intentioned, and I absolutely agree that Chris should be making money off his work, rather than losing it. However, you are clearly a very bottom-line kind of guy. Do not ever lose track of–or steer Chris away from–the original altruistic intentions with which he started his work. Sounds like, for now, you’re keeping that in mind, but if you’re not careful, I think over time your natural tendency may be to try to turn this into a cash cow, even if you never see a dime of it yourself.

The site design and functionality is worlds better than the old site, however, it does still lack something from an aesthetic standpoint. I think, functionally, it’s great; but the appearance could still use a makeover.

Do not ever make the Crash Course something we have to pay for, or register for. I never would have gotten beyond the site’s home page had that been the case. The online, free-to-all, Crash Course is the heart and soul of this site, and Chris’ work.

Adsense ads are fine. I was frankly surprised there weren’t any, and anyone who expects this website to remain ad-free, apparently hasn’t been paying attention to the Internet.

The ad-free mini-membership is an excellent idea. Provide some value-added content to mini-members, as well.

Specific product and service recommendations and advice. This is where you use the free-&-optional registration (not for the Crash Course). Use the free registration to build your mailing list. Include one or more checkboxes to opt-in/out of various email notifications and recommendations. If someone wants to register on the site just to comment on a thread, do not force that person to receive targeted emails s/he isn’t interested in. The more accurately you build your targeted mailing, the more valuable it will be for you and the service providers you ultimately endorse, and the happier we (your information consumers) will be.

Finally, as the site continues to grow, Chris should not be expected to have to personally respond to any and all incoming emails. However, I think many people may be quietly uncomfortable with the idea of you (or anyone) choosing to filter what Chris does and does not see. May I recommend a general ‘Contact Us’ link, prominently accessible on the site, and a second, ‘email Chris’ link, tucked away in a corner somewhere.


In one of the previous sections, to paraphase Chris, he said, "let’s look at the numbers that caused my family and me to radically change where and how we live, even the way we get our food." I am so hoping that when Section 20 is unveiled there will be some actionable information on how to sensibly invest in community supported agriculture, start a CSA, help out a struggling micro/community farmer or how to generally help with relocalizing the means of production of food and necessary tangibles. This seems to be the weakest link in the "how to economically prepare for PO" agenda.